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IRAN: Rafsanjani’s futile attempt to salvage the fragmented velayat-e faqih system and restore his own position

Khamenei’s shaky position caused by inescapable retreat from the nuclear bomb and consecutive defeats in Syria

In remarks on Sunday, December 13, Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Iranian regime’s State Expediency Council, exposed the heightening internal schism of the regime when in a fresh attack against the rival faction he announced the formation of a group to select the next supreme leader and reiterated on the imperative need for a council to replace the supreme leader.

In his interview with the state news agency ILNA he said: “The main function of [Assembly of] Experts is to determine the leader… now, when it is decided that the leader needs to be changed or is no longer and somebody else has to come, they again have a good deal of work to do. Of course, they are getting ready and are studying; they have a group that is vetting people to see which are competent so that if something happened they would be able to introduce them for a vote.” In another part of his interview he added: “In the constitution, from the beginning, the leadership was envisioned as a council. My opinion was also to have a council, but when the Experts ratified it this way, [I said that] I acquiesce.”

He referred to pressures on him by Khamenei’s faction as lacking ‘diplomatic politeness’ and said: “Their pressure on me is utterly ineffective; they are like crows that fly on trees.” He stated that these pressures stem from institutions of power and added that “Some in the parliament use the podium there to spread fanaticism and regrettably some of the institutions in the country, more or less, cooperate with them. The state radio and television broadcast their fanaticism which further encourages them… This method is not in the interest of the country, the revolution and Islam.”

These fresh and unprecedented statements by Rafsanjani come on the heels of the regime’s repeated failures in the past year and the lethal blows it has received that have badly hurt Khamenei’s hegemony and dominion inside the regime and are threatening the entire velayat-e faqih system. Among these blows are the inescapable retreat from building the atomic bomb and submitting to the nuclear deal, repeated defeats and growing casualties in Syria, the formation of the Arab coalition, and failure to gain dominion over Yemen, the Red Sea, and Bab el-Mandeb.

In such circumstances, Rafsanjani tries in vain to salvage the fragmented Iranian regime system through a leadership council and by searching for the next supreme leader on the one hand and to strike back at Khamenei and revive his lost status on the other. However, the position of velayat-e faqih is tailored to Khamenei and by eliminating him the system in its entirety turns unstable. Thus, the regime is more vulnerable than ever and if its ominous regional plans are resisted, it shall promptly crumble.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 14, 2015